Sunday Book Review – The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin, #WWII #historicalfiction

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m sharing a book by one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Paulette Mahurin. This is her newest release I was thrilled to be able to obtain a copy from Netgalley – The Peaceful Village. Based on a heartwrenchingly true story about one of the biggest WWII massacres on French Soil that occurred because of a lie.


During the German occupation of France, nestled in the lush, verdant countryside in the Haute-Vienne department of central France was the peaceful village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It was a community where villagers woke to the medley of nature’s songs: roosters crowing, birds chirping, cats purring, and cows shuffling out to pasture. The people who lived there loved the tranquil nature of their beautiful home, a tranquility that existed year-round. Even with the German occupation and Oradour-sur-Glane being incorporated as part of Vichy France, Oradour – the village with cafés, shops, and a commuter tram to Limoges – remained relatively untouched by the stress of the occupation.
While Oradour enjoyed the lack of German presence, twenty-two kilometers to the northwest in Limoges, the Germans were reacting with increasing cruelty to organized attacks on their soldiers by the armed resistance organization Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). Headed by Georges Guingouin, the Limoges FTP was considered the most effective of the French Resistance groups. Guingouin’s missions fueled the German military to kill and incarcerate in concentration camps anyone perceived as supporters or sympathizers of the Resistance.

Up until the middle of 1944, the German anti-partisan actions in France never rose to the level of brutality or number of civilian casualties that had occurred in eastern Europe. A little before the Allies landed in Normandy, that changed, when German officers stationed on the Eastern Front were transferred to France. It was then that FTP’s increasing efforts to disrupt German communications and supply lines was met with disproportionate counter attacks, involving civilians. Guingouin’s response was to target German officers. When Guingouin set his sights on two particular German officers, all hell broke loose.

Based on actual events as told by survivors, The Peaceful Village is the story of the unfolding of the events that led up to one of the biggest World War II massacres on French soil. But it is not simply a story of Nazi brutality and the futility of war, it is a story of love. The love of family. The love of neighbor. The love of country. Compassion and courage burn from the pages as the villagers’ stories come alive. Written by the international bestselling author of The Seven Year Dress, Paulette Mahurin, this book is an homage to the villagers who lived and loved in Oradour-sur-Glane.

My 5 Star Review:

Marguerite lives on her carrot farm with her husband and other family in the beautiful, peaceful village of Oradour, France. During WWII, this quiet and peaceful village had not yet been threatened or occupied as much as other parts of France and Europe by the nazis, despite the Vichy accepting German rule, until a German capture that had gone wrong had brought forth the brutal nazi regime (no, I will NEVER capitalize the word ‘nazi’) to this peaceful ‘untouched’ by war, town, just before the allies landed in Normandy.

As Marguerite was approaching menopause, the gruel of farming without enough hands was getting to her physically and mentally. She went to church one Sunday and discovered the clergy could use some well needed office help and approached her understanding husband asking for time away from working the farm and by taking up the offer to work for the church office. When she discovered a horrifying piece of paper in a book, as she was tidying the rectory, she approached Father Chapelle, asking if anyone else shared the office, ultimately, showing him what she’d found in a book as she was organizing a bookshelf. Their eye contact established a mutual understanding that they were both on the side against the nazis, when the Father let her know that he was part of the resistance helping place Jewish families where he could. Marguerite’s sympathetic and good nature led her to helping out the church by delivering secret messages, food and clothing where she could.

All was calm, but Marguerite had a foreboding feeling in her stomach, and it wasn’t long before the SS butchers rounded up the whole village in retaliation for the resistance killing one of their higher up murderous high rank nazi leaders. It was first the resistance who made a fatal mistake by letting another of their captured nazis escape, who made it back to headquarters and lied about what happened to him in this innocent village.

Mahurin tells a gripping story in such detail, it’s as though we are there witnessing the action. She paints a picture of this blissful town full of compassionate, loving, neighborly people going on with their business as though the rest of France had nothing to do with them in their sacred untouched perimeters, and just as the serenity turns to hell on earth, she equally writes of the pain, brutality, butchering of innocent mankind because of one SS trying to cover his ass by lying about his attack saying it had taken place in Oradour – when it did not! This lie became the war that wiped out an entire peaceful village in one day.

Based on true events as told by survivors, one of biggest WWII massacres that ever took place on French soil. The expensive price of human life paid for letting one of those heinous, murderous nazis escape capture. The author never disappoints in her gripping true tales of some of the true horrors that innocent people endured under the brutal tyranny of Hitler and his nazi evil regime.


49 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin, #WWII #historicalfiction

    1. Thank you Sally. Paulette’s tellings are impeccable, and certainly, this story is a great reminder of the evil that men can do, yet, sadly, it seems nobody ever learns. No doubts you will be gripped by this true story, but taken in by the compassionate villagers Paulette has beautifully brought to the story. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It is chilling to think of the similarities between those times and Ukraine. Throughout history peaceful people have tended their farms and gardens and then through no fault of their own are subjected to invasion and brutality. Paulette sounds like an amazing writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As has been mentioned above war taught men no lessons and the atrocities continue..This book sounds like a compelling read …my new kindle is being delivered tomorrow so I will be adding this one 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds a really heart wrenching book, one can not even begin to imagine what horrors were endured.. One I know I couldn’t read, as I know it would open up inner wounds of collective suffering..

    Many thanks for sharing Debbie… Sending Love and Hugs my friend ❤


      1. Its horrific and tragic… The trouble is being empathic, I see, feel, and my visual inner vision takes on too much … So I avoid as much negative reading as possible… Along with MSM News, and Negative People LOL… 🙂 🙂 ❤


  4. What a great review, Debby. Even though the story sounds heartbresking, I had to add it to my TBR list.


  5. This book sounds so intense, Debby. And so heartbreaking. I have trouble reading these books I really struggle to bear the sheer cruelty. But it does sound like one that is worth picking up. Thanks for your thoughtful review. ❤ Many congrats to Paulette.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, it sounds like a tough read but the author has approached the difficult topic in such a way that it’s an amazing book. Well done with the review, Debby!


  7. Fabulous review, Debby. This book sounds fascinating. What a terrible, terrible part of our history. And there are still atrocities being committed. What a sad lot we humans are.


  8. Thanks, Debs. Yet another, first/class review of a book, the truth of which sounds typical of the nazis in World War 11 Man’s inhumanity to man always defies believe. Congratulations to Paulette for recording it so well , lest anyone forgets… xxx


  9. This story sounds gripping and heartbreaking. I wonder how many other wars and battles happened from some military leader covering up some past deed by going to war. I notice a similar thing happening today with attitudes toward minorities being scapegoated and blamed for many of society’s problems.

    I once took a college class from a Jewish professor whose entire family was brutally murdered during the second World War. The only reason he survived was that he stayed hidden when the soldiers were searching their home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right Pete. There is much to much blaming and hatred going on in this world now. It seems nobody learns from history, or, they feel they can pull a fast one on someone. Human decency seems to be a struggle when it comes to power. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A great review of a difficult subject. Very raw, even today. The world will never learn, despots still emerge from time to time, and yet we go on; the brave step forward and amaze us, and the sheep carry on doing what sheep do. Growing up we read the Diary of Ann Frank, the Silver Sword, and other such books, at school, and at a young age became very aware of what went on in the world. In 1957 I lived in Germany and many of the English Soldiers (we were Army) had Jewish wives, and I heard firsthand of what had gone on, even at the young age of 5 the stories sunk in. In 1968 I lived in a German village ( with the Min of Defence this time) which was a nazi strong-hold during WW2, and there were reminders all around of the war. My sister – in the 1990s – purchased a house in France and came across a shrine in the woods one day. It was to all the men: the young and the old, from the nearby village, who had been lined up against the wall (which was still there), and shot. For aiding a British soldier. How anyone can forget I don’t know. How anyone can stand by when they see another despot rising, I don’t know. But, sadly, they do. It is a struggle we must continue. Good luck Paulette, with your book. x


    1. Jane, thank you so much for sharing this piece of your own history and what you witnessed. I know these aren’t happy books, but they are truth and humanity, and that’s what keeps me reading as I never cease to be amazined by the human condition. I’m wondering with all your experience as witnessing and living in places that were the setting for this inhumanity, if you ever considered writing a book about? Hugs to you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, we are witnesses and must always keep the truth alive. So many want to bury it these days. LOL a memoir? If only I had time, so many books to write and I am getting up there age-wise. Only One woman is a sort of memoir set in the 1960s music scene in the UK, and is very credible fact-wise for the times. I will write the sequel one day, Christina does not want to, she said as much
        on the day it was launched! Go figure.


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